Weird light in Arizona sky is from SpaceX launch

A graphic explaining sonic booms provided by Vandenberg Air Force Base ahead of a planned SpaceX launch on Oct. 7 2018

When SpaceX launched a rocket carrying an Argentine Earth-observation satellite from California's Central Coast, both the night sky and social media lit up.

The primary goal of Sunday's mission was to place the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit, but SpaceX also successfully sent a first stage booster back to the base for the first time.

The rocket's first - and reusable - stage landed successfully, marking the first West Coast landing for a booster. The spacecraft will set up shop 385 miles (620 kilometers) above Earth and scrutinize the planet using a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instrument.

The success achieved in the safe return of the first stage is significant for SpaceX as the company is looking at a reduction in launch cost through such measures.

SpaceX had previously flown first-stage rockets back to land after Florida launches but had not done so on the West Coast. Pacific time. The launch was delayed one day for "pre-flight vehicle checkouts", SpaceX tweeted last week. Including Sunday's successful landing, SpaceX has returned 30 total boosters back to land or to a floating sea platform.

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Some of the pictures showed the Falcon 9 rocket separating and leaving a rocket trail behind.

The 3,500-lb. (1,600 kilograms) SAOCOM-1A satellite was developed by Argentina's national space agency, which is known by its Spanish acronym CONAE. This mission has the main aim to gather soil moisture information.

Minutes after launch, the rocket's second stage separated from the first-stage booster and continued rising spaceward.

SpaceX has also been experimenting with a procedure to save additional millions of dollars by retrieving the Falcon 9's fairing, or nose cone.

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